Several senior theater students have the opportunity to showcase their directorial talent during the Black Box Fall Acts this week in the Black Box Theater.
The acts have already begun to take place in room 204 in Malone Hall on Tuesday and Wednesday and will continue on Thursday, Nov. 17, at 6 p.m.
The Black Box Fall Acts, or Fall Shorts, are student-directed, acted, produced and designed one-acts or shortened plays.
The three students from the Directing II class must put together a piece that lasts close to an hour and that shows what all they have learned from their directing classes.
The Fall Shorts are split into three days—Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday—with each day showcasing one student’s piece. The performances begin at 6 p.m. and are roughly one hour long.
Noah Williams, a senior theater major from Huntsville, directed the Neil LaBute play “In a Forest, Dark and Deep” for Tuesday night’s performance.
“I think a big part of the director’s job is figuring out the story that they want to tell and the story that the author is telling,” Williams said.
“Theater is subjective, so my job was to read the play and figure out what LaBute was trying to say, and then figure out how to best mold the play and the scenes to fit what he and I were trying to say together.”
According to Williams, “In a Forest, Dark and Deep” is a play about “the lies we tell ourselves to get by.”
“It’s hard to say a little without giving the whole thing away, but it’s about two people who desperately need to be wanted, and that screws up their lives,” Williams said.
“It speaks to the kind of art and the kind of things that millennials need to see.”
“In a Forest, Dark and Deep” was performed on Tuesday night in the Black Box Theater, which was completely packed. The play was complex and twisted, but also very real, and the two performers were engaging while playing their characters of brother and sister.
The piece was dramatic and intense, but it was also tinged with funny moments that had the audience laughing loudly.
There were also many unexpected plot twists that kept the audience on the edge of their seats, including the major reveal at the end of the play that the sister had killed her younger lover.
Meagan Evans, a senior theater major from Wetumpka, directed the play “Back Bog Beast Bait” by Sam Shepard, which was Wednesday night’s performance. “Back Bog Beast Bait” is a story about a group of characters and their fears and how their fears change them.
Evans said that the three student directors have worked together to make the Fall Shorts great.
“I think we’ve all worked well together, sharing the space and sharing actors and helping each other, and that’s been really nice,” Evans said.
“There’s only three of us, and we’ve all been working together really, really hard and we’ve helped each other, and I think that’s made a real difference in being able to do what we’ve gotten to do.”
Adena Moree, an associate professor of performance, taught the Directing II class and helps the students to piece together the different aspects of their plays. Moree said that she serves as a mentor and an instructor, but that the students must do most of the work in putting the performances together.
“My job is to make sure that they’re making the right kinds of choices and maintaining the calendar, but I don’t want to do it for them,” Moree said.
“They have to choose everything, so they stand or fall on their choice of their casting, interpretation, choices for the set, work with the lighting and sound designers, that kind of thing.”
Nathan Maxwell, a senior theater major from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, directed the piece “Down the Road” by Lee Blessings.
“Down the Road” will be performed Thursday night and is, on the surface, about a couple writing a book about a serial killer, but also deals with the subjectivity of humanity and the lies and secrets that break apart the couple’s marriage.
Maxwell said that he hopes that everyone who can gets the opportunity to see the Fall Shorts.
“I think we have a really solid lineup this year, and I’m hoping that even people outside of the department, but especially people in the department, get to see it,” Maxwell said.
“I feel like there’s a lot of hard work that has gone into all three of them, and they are all varied and innovative pieces and contribute something different.”